(TELEGRAPH) — When the chief starter at the London Olympics agreed to fire his pistol to start the races at a school sports day, parents thought it was a wonderful treat for their children.

But they did not count on the intervention of health and safety officials from their local council, who ruled that the noise from Alan Bell’s starting pistol would be too frightening for the youngsters.

Bizarrely, the local authority instead suggested playing a recording of a starting pistol on an iPod before agreeing to let Mr Bell start the races by sounding a klaxon.

Parents of the children, who attend Gartocharn Primary School in Dunbartonshire, Sunday accused the council of “tying themselves in knots” over “ridiculous” health and safety rules.

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